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Opinions of Monday, 7 October 2013

Columnist: Akyeampong, Prince

Stop The Fear-Mongering Now!

Ghana, our peaceful and beloved nation, has suddenly become the target for
terrorism; or, so the naysayers claim. Since the Al-Shabab attack at the
Westgate mall in Kenya which claimed over sixty lives, we've had warnings
from the British government and certain prominent individuals in Kenya
about looming terrorist attacks in Ghana. Even the controversial Nigerian
Prophet, T.B. Joshua, whose apparent obsession with matters concerning
Ghanaians is no secret, has predicted terrorist attacks in two West African
countries. It's obvious that this Nigerian Prophet who deems it fitting to
juggle with the minds of the gullible ones in Ghana was referring to our
beloved country and probably his native Nigeria. Without question, these
are truly dangerous times and there should be no room for complacency when
it comes to the potential for terrorist strikes. But, why Ghana?

The last time I checked, Ghanaians were a peace-loving people who were
still in the process of dissecting the pros and cons of an eight-month-long
election petition. What changed in this country after the Kenyan Al-Shabab
attacks to lead to the sudden finger-pointing to Ghana as the next target
for terrorist attacks? I f, according to the British government, Ghana's
deployment of 120 troops to Mali accounts for the warning of an impending
terrorist attack, how about the other African countries who also have
troops in Mali? Why is Ghana the main target on the terrorists' radar and
not the other participating countries? In any case, a clear distinction
must be made with regards to the respective roles played by Ghana and
Kenya. in Mali and Somalia. While thousands of Kenyan soldiers were
recently engaged in joint operations with Somali forces to fight Al-Shabab
militants and smash their strongholds, the 120 Ghanaian soldiers in Mali
are primarily there to help restore order to the area after the
French-backed Malian troops fought and defeated Islamic militants.

it's as if these warnings and prophesies are mischievous attempts to draw
the attention of terrorists to Ghana. It's one thing to sound a general
note of caution to all African countries to tighten security measures in
light of the massacre in Kenya - however, it's another thing to single out
one country and create unnecessary panic by warning of an "impending"
attack. That to me, is totally preposterous and must not be tolerated by
peace-loving Ghanaians! Perhaps TB Joshua would serve his purpose better
by predicting imminent Boko Haram bloodbaths in his country instead of
focusing on the fate of Ghanaians. His so-called prediction of terror
strikes on the legislatures of two West African countries has thrown
Ghanaian MP's into a state of panic. Can you blame them? The imminence of
death is not exactly a laughing matter. Like a friend once said, many
people want to be assured of a place in Heaven in the life hereafter, but
none of them is prepared to die.

The threat of terrorism is real and must not be discounted by any country.
However, that does not necessarily mean that any country must entertain
such reckless warnings which have the potential of drawing the attention of
these mass murderers to a relatively peaceful country. Folks, let's not
forget that these terrorists have eyes and ears; in essence, the continuous
warnings to Ghana about imminent strikes is like throwing a challenge to
these killers!. Since when did the name of our country, Ghana, become
synonymous with terrorism? This is not an attempt to plead with Islamic
militants in Mali not to attack us but my point is, why provoke them with
these warnings about looming attacks? These are people who do not care who
they kill, how many people they kill or where they kill, so please, much as
we appreciate the need to be vigilant in these dangerous times, Ghanaians
must condemn the attempt by certain countries and individuals to place them
on the deadly radars of terrorists.

President Mahama and his Ministers of State must also be cautioned not to
open their mouths too wide when commenting on Ghana's stance on terrorism
in Africa. The Deputy Minister of Information and Media Relations is on
record as having recently said among other things that: "Ghana is
constantly on the alert to thwart any security threat from terrorist
groups." Folks, it's a good thing to take preventive measures by being on
constant alert - however, there's only so much the country's security
agencies can do when it comes to terrorist threats and attacks. That is
why I would like to advise those at the helm of affairs to tread carefully
and refrain from making unguarded statements which could potentially be
counter productive. Reports of anti-terrorist training by police personnel
is encouraging; but, again, this is by no means a development that can
prevent or discourage these hardcore murderers from striking.. Extra
vigilance from all Ghanaians is also crucial. If British Intelligence
Agencies have any classified information about potential terrorist attacks,
why don't they share it with their Ghanaian counterparts? Enough of the
fear-mongering! We do not want to live in an atmosphere of fear and
uncertainty, which is one of the objectives of terrorism. God bless Mother

Prince Akyeampong, e-mail: